The clay pagoda with candles that have burnt for 50 years | Mekong Delta Tour


Amidst the new modern buildings and houses of Soc Trang City quietly nestles a small pagoda called “Buu Son Tu” (Buu Son Pagoda), which is only more than a hundred years old. Small and new as it might seem, Buu Son Pagoda, also called “Dat Set” Pagoda (the Clay Pagoda) is a hub for not only Buddhist followers but also travelers when paying a Mekong Delta tour. The pagoda has gained its reputation for its special clay sculptures and giant candles that have burnt continuously for more than 50 years.

The pagoda looks like a resident house


Despite officially named “Buu Son Tu”, the pagoda is better known as “Chua Dat Set” – the clay pagoda, because of all 1991 small to big statues, 02 towers, 04 mythological animals, 04 giant candles and 03 super tall incenses, are made from clay.
According to the descendants of the Ngo Family, in the early 20th century, the pagoda was just a small temple used as a private practicing place for a man named Ngo Kim Tay. His son – Ngo Kim Dinh had a son called Ngo Kim Tong, who had a really bad health condition. When he turned 20, his family supposed he could not recover from a serious sickness so they took him to this family temple to pray and practice Buddhism teachings. Miraculously, he became healthier. Hence, Ngo Kim Tong decided to follow Buddhism and became the abbot of this pagoda.

All the statues are made from clay

In 1928, when he was restoring the pagoda, he dreamed that the Buddha showed him to the west to get the clay to build statues. In spite of not having undergone any sculpture or architecture classes, he has created valuable sculpture works of significant religious values.


Aside from its sacred religious atmosphere, it’s the architecture that makes the pagoda a must-see for a Mekong Delta tour. The Clay Pagoda is situated in a 400-square-meter, looking nothing much different from other resident houses of the locals. The building is not big, with a metal roof, wooden frames, and wall. The back side of the pagoda faces the street. The roof has 02 layers with the spire architecture on the top and a lower roof spreading like wings.
The pagoda consists of several small sections including the entrance gate, the outside altars, and the palaces to worship the Buddha, Buddhist deities, and the Jade. There are also small temples 9to worship the mythological animals, the ancestors of Ngo Family, the Earth God, etc.

A sophisticated sculpture in the pagoda

Taking a Mekong Delta culture tour to the pagoda, travelers would not help themselves from claiming when seeing the exquisite clay works here. Ngo Kim Tong contributed his 42 years to make 1901 small to big Buddha statues, more than 200 animal sculptures, and several towers and censers. The most outstanding works among them are the 13-floor Da Bao Tower with 208 clay Buddha statues and 156 dragons, Bao Toa Tower with 1000 statues on 1000 clay lotus petals, and Luc Long Dang – the 6-dragon light. Those complicatedly designed clay products demonstrate the delicate care of the sculptor. It is the results of not only the skillful hand of the maker but also the pure mind of a loyal Buddhist follower.

The candles that have burnt for tens of years

Admiring the over-lighting candles in the Clay Pagoda is one of the top things to do in Mekong Delta. In the very last years of his life, Sir Ngo Kim Tong stopped making sculptures and turned to cast candles. He bought the pure wax without impurities from Saigon and melted it out to make candles. As the sizes of the candles are too big to fit any molds, he used the steel (for metal roofing) to shape giant molds of 2.6 meters high to pour the melted wax to make candles. It took 2 days to finish 1 candle and 1 month for it to become completely dry. Ngo Kim Tong also carves words and dragons along the candles to make them more appealing.

The candles have burnt for tens of years

Having continuously done this work for months, he cast 06 huge wax candles, each of which weighs 200 kg and is expected to light in 70 years, and 02 smaller candles weighing 100 kg. The small pair of candles were lighted in 1970 when Ngo Kim Tong passed away. It has been 48 years since then but they are expected to light for 4-5 years more till it burns out.
Furthermore, there are also 3 super-tall incenses in the pagoda. Each of them is 1.5 meters high and weighs 50 kg. It is believed that once it is lighted, it would take years to burn out.
The Clay Pagoda does not have either excellent exterior architecture or a large size, yet it is still a unique pagoda that can hardly be found anywhere else. It is a one-of-a-kind spiritual destination for Mekong Delta private tour, where visitors can immerse yourselves in the quiet and sacred space and blow away the stress and fatigue of life.

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Best things to do for an exciting Mekong Delta tour

The Mekong Delta is one of two biggest deltas in Vietnam. This land impresses every Vietnam travel agency and tourists to here by its charming beauty. Today’s article is going to suggest you the best things you should experience in the Mekong Delta when you travel to Vietnam.

1. Exploring the floating market

Visiting the Mekong Delta, you shouldn’t miss the floating market – the most impressive attraction of this land, and the first thing people think of when talking about this land. If you haven’t sat in a boat and experience the floating market in your Mekong Delta tour, it would be a big pity.

Bustling floating market in the Mekong Delta

Traveling to this land, you will see small boats full of fruits and special foods of this region. You can ask the local people for a seat on their boat to experience a bustling floating market. The local people are very friendly, kind, and hospitable. You always see the smile from the bottom of the heart on their face. Many famous floating markets in the Mekong Delta you can visit in a trip to this land with a Vietnam local tour operator are Cai Be (on Tien River), Phung Hiep (Hau Giang), Chau Doc (An Giang), Cai Rang (Can Tho), Phong Dien (Can Tho).

[Cai Be floating market]

2. Eating grilled snakehead fish

Fish dishes are the most popular specialty of the Mekong Delta due to the dense net of rivers and canals. And grilled snakehead fish is the most favorite and famous food suggested in a lot of Vietnam travel reviews about this land. The best time to enjoy this dish in the Mekong Delta is in January when the local people catch this fish the most. Especially, sitting around a fire in the field in the chilly weather and waiting for your fish to be grilled well would be an unforgettable experience in your trip.

[Grilled snakehead fish]

3. Enjoying Xeo Cake

Xeo cake is the most favorite specialty in the Mekong Delta. This food has a thin coat, full filling with various ingredients. It has the delicious taste of coconut milk, powdered turmeric, crispy coat, and various vegetables. Its wonderful taste will deeply enchant you and leave in your heart a deep impression of this beautiful land. There are many kinds of fillings you can choose and enjoy.

[Xeo Cake]

4. Catching fish in the muddy field

Another must-try things you shouldn’t miss in your trip to the Mekong Delta is catching fish in the muddy field. It is one of the most attractive and exciting cultural activities in this land that you cannot find anywhere else. You can soak in the mud, get dirty, and catch the fish in the mud. Then you can enjoy a delicious meal of fish, which you have caught minutes ago. It would be one of the most unforgettable experiences in your trip to Vietnam.

Catching fish in a small canal

5. Visiting huge orchards

One of the greatest attractions of the Mekong Delta that you should visit on a trip with a Vietnam travel agency is huge fruit gardens. Thanks to the mild weather and plentiful water, the Mekong Delta has a lot of huge orchards with various kinds of fruits. Visiting this land in summer, you can visit these fruit garden, pick some fruits, and eat them right in the garden. Many famous orchards you can visit in the Mekong Delta in summer are My Khanh in Can Tho, An Binh Isle in Vinh Long, Cai Mon in Ben Tre and Cai Be in Tien Giang.

[Fruit garden in the Mekong Delta]

6. Visiting Hon Da Bac

From the city center of Ca Mau, go along the provincial highway for 40km, get through U Minh Ha Forest – the hometown of the liar king Ba Phi, you will reach a beautiful group of deserted islands which is 50m above the sea level. It has three islands linking with each other, including Hon Troi, Hon Ong Ngo, and Hon Da Bac with the total area of about 6.4 hectares.

[Hon Da Bac Island]
This famous tourist site is in Kinh Hon Hamlet, Khanh Binh Tay Commune, Tran Van Thoi District, Ca Mau Province. Stone is the only thing you can see in Hon Troi – the small island located between two islands of Hon Ong Ngo and Hon Da Bac. In contrast, the other two islands have a lot of trees. According to many documents, Hon Da Bac has formed about 180 million years ago, in the mid-Jura period and Mesozoic.

7. Conquering the southernmost point of Vietnam

The southernmost point of Vietnam is always a must-see site of tourist in a Vietnam tour. After an hour going by canoe on the sea, you will reach this point in Mui Hamlet, Ca Mau. Getting there, you will see one of the four most sacred sites in Vietnam. From here, you will have a stunning view of the sea, listen to the sound of the sea waves, and feel your heart beating strongly in your chest.

[Vietnamese national southernmost point]
These are the top exciting things you must try in your Mekong Delta tour. There are many other attractions of this beautiful land welcoming you to explore. Come and enjoy them, you will have an unforgettable tour in Vietnam.
Description: The Mekong Delta has a lot of attractions that attracts every Vietnam travel agency to come and explore in the best adventure tour.

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Ao ba ba- the unique symbol of the West Vietnam

Ao ba ba with cone and scarf

Traveling to the West, tourists can see the images of mothers, sister, or even uncles of the waterfront gardens using the ao ba ba as the casual clothes. The followings will give you some interesting things about ao ba ba for your Vietnam culture tour.

Over the years, ao ba ba is still popular with everyone, especially the middle-aged and older. This is the beauty of Vietnamese culture that has an unforgettable impression on the tourists. It is typical for the creativity and innovation of the traditional culture beyond time and space.

Ao ba ba for both girls and boys

Ao ba ba for both girls and boys

Ao ba ba is a kind of shirt that does not have a collar. Its structure is quite simple: the back of the shirt is a piece of a fabric, the front two pieces are connected by a strip of buttons. Ao ba ba has two sides to allow the wearers to easily turn, stoop, hold and pull the items. The shirt is medium in length, neat, and elegant. The front two pieces have two small pockets to put some necessary personal things such as cigarette, money, or handkerchief.

Ao ba ba in daily life

Ao ba ba in daily life

Ao ba ba usually has the long sleeves to prevent the sun and protect their arms. Because of the life and labor work, they make the shirt suitable for daily activities. The shirt is made of the black or dark fabric in order to wash easily and be less fading. In the past, there were a lot of swamps, marshes, and canals, therefore; this kind of costume will help the people to move, sail, or pick fruit easily.

Ao ba ba with cone and scarf

Ao ba ba with cone and scarf

If you want to have a culture tour in Vietnam, exploring the beauty of ao ba ba is a really wonderful experience. Besides, ao ba ba along with scarf and cone become the unique symbol of the soul and cultural beauty of South Vietnamese women in particular as well as Vietnamese women in general. As a result, both foreign visitors and domestic ones are interested in traveling to the West to learn more about this Vietnamese culture.

A beautiful image in the West

A beautiful image in the West

Nowadays, ao ba ba is still familiar to the people in daily life. Starting a cultural tour in Vietnam, you will be impressed by the image of the girl rowing on the canals with ao ba ba, cone, scarf, and friendly smiles.

Visitors also can enjoy the pictures of farmers on the paddy fields with the sweat-soaked on the back of ao ba ba. And, there are so many other familiar images in the Mekong Delta that are attached to ao ba ba. Taking photos with ao ba ba, scarf, and cone becomes one of the favorite things to do in Vietnam for a trip to the West.

Ao ba ba will exist with the time

Ao ba ba will exist with the time

Although the life becomes busier and noisier, or the time can change everything, ao ba ba is still the traditional costumes of mothers, sister. This Vietnamese culture will exist forever with the time.

The above is the great beauty of “ao ba ba” that you can need to know when exploring a Vietnam culture tour. It is truly meaningful, so why don’t you start a trip to the West right now?